Chrysler's minivans caught the competition off guard, even usually unflappable Toyota. The Japanese countered with a JDM forward-control offering, and as today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe contender attests, while it may have been slow, its freak flag sure flies.

With Ferrari, we all know that the most expensive cars are usually those with the cheapest prices out of the gate. Yesterday's '97 550 Maranello looked at first glance like a screamin' deal, but a dark cloud hung over the car in the shape of an insurance and bank account-busting salvage title. The explained reason of a minor accident didn't jive for most of you, and who knows if that accident meant a fender-bender or an ebola monkey shitting in the glove box, both of which could have deleterious effects on the car's future drivability and collectibility.

Despite all that, the Maranello's siren song couldn't be overcome and it salvaged a 60% Nice Price win for its markdown price and its I want to make sexy time with it looks. Different stokes, as they say.


Today's contender is about as different a stroke from that Ferrari as you could imagine, and while that Italian beauty could be generally considered fap-worthy, this jacked-up Toyota people mover is most likely something only a vinyl-wearing box dweller would pop a Cialis® over. Well, maybe that's being too unkind, but regardless, it's time to wake up the Gimp and take a look at Toyota's first salvo in the minivan wars.

Officially called the ‘Van' in the U.S., Toyota's cab-over sported the more unfortunate moniker of ‘Master Ace' in Japan. That name sounds a little too much like Master Race, or Masturbates, so Van, while uninspired, was probably a better choice here. This 1989 conversion edition features not only the 102-bhp 2.3-litre four between the seats, but also Toyota's smooth 4-speed auto box and 4-wheel drive. Mods made for the 4x4 version included skid plates for the pricy bits and a two-speed transfer case for when things got dicy. The 4WD Van also sits at a stream-forging height which exacerbates its already concerning tendency to turn turtle in aggressive maneuvers.

But this Van isn't about gymkhana lap times, and with the Van Works Inc. conversion, what it's really all about is business - or getting busy, actually. The conversion includes a raised roof, privacy curtain-equipped windows, and a set of rear seats that fold down into a lumpy, but serviceable bed.

With 4-wheel drive, you'd be able to take your victim consort to remote, romantic hideaways where their screams shrieks of delight wouldn't be heard by anyone. Drawing the curtains will hide the blood spatters shield you from prying eyes, and the seatbelt-equipped bed will ensure that they don't wriggle too much while you eat their spleen everyone is safely secured, no matter what the activity.


With 189,000 miles under its belt, you might think this Van's best days are behind it, but these things seem pretty bulletproof and some owners claim that they continue to go strong with almost half a million showing on the clock.

The Van's burgundy exterior is a little less subdued than you might like, but the claims of recent maintenance - including head gasket, water pump, radiator, tires, etc - should ensure reasonable reliability should you need to be on the road for a prolonged period of time.

You might not want to do that however, as the short wheelbase of the Toyota Van makes for a pretty unsettling ride, although it does afford a tight 15-foot turning radius, which could be advantageous should you need to quickly change direction in light of obstacles such as police roadblocks unexpected road closures.

So what does such a versatile vehicle cost? Well, in this case the seller is asking $4,500, and says that he doesn't have time anymore to use it for what he envisioned- taking it on climbing expeditions. Whatever you're thinking its use could be, what do you think about that price? Is $4,500 a deal, or does that price scare you off faster than a hand-scrawled Free Candy sign taped to the window?

You decide!

Chattanooga Craigslist or go here if the ad goes to jail away. Also, lots-o-pictures may be found here.


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